President Trump said Thursday that he receives information from foreign governments every day, pushing back at criticism of his comment to an interviewer that he might not tell the FBI if a foreign official offered him dirt on a 2020 political opponent.
“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again.”
The president has come under heavy criticism in the media for telling ABC News’ George Stephanopolous on Wednesday that “I think I’d take” information about an opponent offered by a foreign government.
“It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it,” he said.
Mr. Trump said he might or might not alert the FBI.
“You call the FBI?” he said rhetorically. “Give me a break. Life doesn’t work like that.”
The president noted that he met in the past week alone with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, the presidents of France and Poland, and the prime minister of Ireland.
“We talked about ‘Everything!’” he tweeted.
The president also suggested that ABC News didn’t air his full answer to the question.
“They purposely leave out the part that matters,” Mr. Trump said.
Special counsel Robert Mueller spent more than two years and tens of millions of dollars investigating whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in 2016 to influence the presidential election. Mr. Mueller found there was no collusion between Trump officials and Moscow, although Russians did interfere in the election on Mr. Trump’s behalf.
The president said Senate Intelligence Committee co-chair Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, “spoke at length, and in great detail, about extremely negative information on me, with a talented entertainer purporting to be a Russian Operative” but didn’t immediately call the FBI or notify his committee.
He said House intelligence committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, “took calls from another person, also very successfully purporting to be a Russian Operative,” but didn’t call the FBI.
“This is the biggest & worst political scandal in the history of the United States of America. Sad!” he tweeted.
Mr. Warner said on CNN that he has no idea what the president meant. “I think he’s talking about actually something that happened with Mr. Schiff,” Mr. Warner said. “But I would say this, when I had contact with someone that, that’s been reported, first thing I did was, of course I contacted the FBI.”
Mr. Schiff said the president is “wrong again.”
“You eagerly took foreign help in the 2016 election and want it again,” Mr. Schiff tweeted. “When a foreign national offered info relevant to our investigation — not election — we informed the FBI before and after the call.”
He told the president, “It’s called ethics. You should try it.”
• Bailey Vogt contributed to this report.
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